Order to learn concerti

August 22, 2006 at 05:31 AM · Lots of teachers have different orders they teach violin concerti. Sometimes, they don't teach the same ones. My violin teacher in Germany had this order beginning from the Bruch:

Bruch No. 1

Saint-Saëns No. 3

Mendelssohn E minor

Brahms (I think)




So, what's your list? I don't want a correction of this list, just what you would do. Thanks!

Replies (21)

August 22, 2006 at 07:37 AM · Brahms so soon? A bit out of order in my opinion, but I'm not a teacher. I did Saint-Saens #3, Mendelssohn, Wieniawski #2, Mozart #4, Lalo, Barber, Bruch, Sibelius. If I had a student, I might try this order: Bruch, Saint-Saens #3, Wieniawski #2, Mendelssohn, Barber, Lalo, Mozart, Sibelius/Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Brahms/Beethoven, Bartok #2. I haven't played any of these after Sibelius, so I'm not totally sure, but ultimately, I'd have to tailor the list to each student.

August 22, 2006 at 08:49 AM · There is definately benefits in having a teaching order, but I don't think it needs to be set in stone. I had a very unorthodox order. Beginning at the age of 13, after having learned some Viotti, Vivaldi and a bunch of Mozart, my first major teacher had me learn a concerto a year in this order (not preset by the way, I had a lot of say in what I wanted to learn):

Saint-Saens #3, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Scottish Fantasy, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Beethoven, (teacher switch), Wieniawski #2, Prok. #2, (teacher switch), Mozart #3 and Shostakovich, and now I'm working on Bruch G- and the Bernstein Serenade.

I think I've missed a few, but that's the general idea. I think that as long as a student is willing to work hard, there's much to learn from such a list in any order.


August 22, 2006 at 10:44 AM · with both of davids lists, isn't the sibelius a lot harder than bruch and mozart and the mendelssohn?

August 22, 2006 at 03:13 PM · Hi Sydney,

I'm also a bit surprised by your list - having Brahms that early is a bit unorthodox to me. Not saying that it can't be done though.

Here's the way I did it...

Mendelssohn (mvt 1)

Wieniawski 2 (mvt 1)

Tchaikovsky mvt 1

Vieuxtemps No. 2 (mvt 1)

Wieniawski 2 (again - all of it)


Saint Saens

Mozart No. 3



Tchaikovsky again (all mvts)


Sibelius (mvt 1)


Every student's case is probably a bit different!


August 22, 2006 at 01:32 PM · I've not done a whole concerto yet (working on that...I have almost no third movements!) but here's what I did: Bruch (1st and 3rd mvts), Mozart 3, Mendelssohn, Khachaturian, Mozart 5, Wieniawski 2, Dvorak, Wieniawski 2 again (whole thing, I just can't play the third mvt at tempo), and I'm currently working on Dvorak again. I'm dying to learn Brahms, but I have a nagging feeling I should go back and finish some of those other concerti before conservatory.

August 22, 2006 at 04:49 PM · Sibelius is definitely harder than Bruch, and even Mozart in many aspects. This is why I put the Sibeilus after both of these concertos ;-)

August 22, 2006 at 06:11 PM · some of those lists are bizarre to me. brahms, elgar, and beethoven should by all rights be dead last!

August 22, 2006 at 06:55 PM · I just want to know why Delay puts Paganini #1 before Dvorak. That piece (the Paganini, I mean) is tendonitis waiting to happen.

August 22, 2006 at 07:24 PM · Because Paganini helps establish technique that will allow you to play Dvorak. I don't see how Paganini is tendonitis waiting to happen... it's hard yes, but not particularly awkward like Bartok or Schoenberg. Most of it is fairly logically ordered... if you're playing Sauret cadenza, that's a different story. I'll never do that.

Dvorak also requires some more maturity that I don't think all the little 11 year old genius players can accomplish at that time.

August 22, 2006 at 07:33 PM · There are lots of little Japanese and Korean 11 year olds that could easily play Dvorak.

August 22, 2006 at 07:35 PM · they could also play the notes to Beethoven... doesn't mean anyone would want to listen to it.

August 22, 2006 at 07:41 PM · Hm. Maybe I'll have to take a second look at the Paganini.

August 22, 2006 at 07:46 PM · Maura... before you do that, open the Galamian scale book... do that for about 3 months and I think you won't find the Paganini such a daunting challenge anymore.

August 22, 2006 at 07:48 PM · Speaking of Sauret...

Do you think he could really play all of the notes in his Paganini D major cadenza well and in tune? I'd think that if he could he would have been much more well-known as a virtuoso. What do y'all think?

August 22, 2006 at 08:07 PM · Sauret had few equals...the Paganini cadenza he wrote is easy compared to some of his other works...Yes, I'm sure he could play each and every note :-) Just look at who he studied under...de Beriot and Vieuxtemps...two of the greatest violinists ever to live. As well, rather than virtuosity for virtuosity's sake, there is always beauty in Sauret...he certainly composed no study for instance that would be considered boring to your typical student. Here's a nice quote from the Lahee books (available for download at Gruenberg):

"M. Sauret is pronounced conservative and conscientious to the last degree in handling the classics, and, although he has great individuality, passion, and fire, he would consider it a sacrilege to

obtrude his own personality upon the listener. He is distinguished for

elegance rather than perfection of technique. He may be considered a

representative of the extreme French school."

I don't agree with the "extreme French school" comment...my studying of his many works (especially his violin concerto) would put him nicely in the same school as his teachers, the Belgian School...if not a little bit extreme there!

No time for spellcheck, sorry!

August 22, 2006 at 11:46 PM · This isn't the nicest thing to say about a piece, but I really think the Dvorak requires a real musical intellect to not sound boring! It's SO repetitive and long that it requires a good deal of thought from the performer to stay interesting. (my opinion only, of course; maybe it's just not to my taste!) Therefore it's probably not the best choice for a 10 year old, no matter how gifted.

August 23, 2006 at 05:53 AM · I'm learning the Dvorak right now. For me it is harder than the Tchaik, and probably about the same level as the Brahms.

Like Pieter said, the Paganini 1 isn't bad without the Sauret cadenza, assuming you have practiced some scale system like Flesch and are fairly comfortable with all bowing technique.

Dvorak is a very hard concerto to interpret and the technique is up there with most of the other big romantic concerti. Few people could say what they think is a definitive recording of it, while most of us could rattle off 10 different recordings we love of Mendelsohn Bruch Brahms Beethoven Tchaikovsky and Sibelius.

August 23, 2006 at 08:29 AM · Jude, unfortunately Dvorak might be one of the most challenging composers to play. I always say this, but I think he conceived a lot of gorgeous, wonderful thematic work, tied together by often tenuous, soporific, second rate composing. Few composers were able to compose themes and ideas like Dvorak, but man, can things drag.

I was once coached by a prominent chamber musician who had played like, the entire repertoire. We were doing the american, and he was trying to persuade us to change pieces. He used a very good word to describe the less desireable aspects of Dvorak; "redundant".

I think the opening of the concerto and the virtuosity is great. But, he hangs on to that theme like it will reveal the meaning of life. The 2nd movement has some totally gorgeous moments, for me, one of the most glorious themes in a 2nd movement. But then... snore. The 3rd movement is quite forgetable. It's such a shame because he could write such beautiful themes, melodies, and harmonies but the stuff in between these thematic materials are often just not that good.

So yes, I agree that Dvorak is one hell of a musical challenge.

August 23, 2006 at 10:47 AM · Jon - I agree with you. Of cource he could play it! As you said, he wrote harder stuff than this, and to the rest of you - he WAS well known then. How many of you would have heard of, say Prihoda, Elman, Zimbalist, Kubelik or Spalding if it was not for the recorded medium?

August 23, 2006 at 11:08 AM · Why is there never a teacher who put Benjamin Godard concerto Roamtique op.35, 3th Jeno Hubay, 1th and 2th Dohnanyi or Lalo op.20 or Lalo opus 29 (Violinconcert Russe) on their desk? And why always Paganini1 and not Paganini2, Paganini3, Paganini4 (beautiful second part), Paganini5, Paganini6? I am eager to hear these pieces once in the concerthall and it is no second rank music.

De Sarasate even said in a letter that he likes violinconcerto opus20 more than opus21 (Symphony Espagnole), but opus20 is unknown, because teachers always put opus 21 of Lalo on the desk for pupils. Or was de Sarasate not a specialist of GOOD VIOLINCONCERTO's?

So, Sydney if you will study and later play a rare violinconcerto, I will even come to the States to hear this piece played by you. I have scanned sheetmusic of the (rare but unknown)violinconcerto's and can sent it to you by e-mail.

From your standardlist I have played in amateurorchestra's

Bruch No. 1 (3 times)

Saint-Saëns No. 3 (3 times)

Mendelssohn E minor (3 times)

Brahms (I think) (2 times)

Tchaikovsky (1 time)

Beethoven (2 times)

Sibelius (1 time)

and I am sick of playing always these standardworks (so I am happy that I am not a professional who have to play these pieces 50 times or more) and I began to hate this music and I hate the poor violinconcertorepertoireknowledge of teachers always putting iron repertoire on desks of pupils and it helps making the vicious circles go round that programmers, orchestra's, conductors and violinteachers and violinists always play those silly concerto's instead of other beautiful violinconcerto's, but I can not change the world with my crusade.

And more important: why studying always violinconcerto’s? A lot of violinists will never or seldom play a violinconcerto, because most of them will become 1th or 2th violinist in an amateur- or professional orchestra. Even professional concertmasters with big prices only play first violin-score. So for auditions it is also silly to let 2th violinist play those standardviolinconcerto’s. Better would be orchestral fragments.

And why isn’t there a violincompetition where you can choose only from rare violinconcerto’s and where the Sydney-list is forbidden?

August 23, 2006 at 01:25 PM · Wow, Dvorak as hard as Brahms? Ego-boost! :)

Pieter, it doesn't sound boring when I play it......:) and actually I CAN name a bunch of great recordings off the top of my head. Stern, Luca, Vengerov, Perlman, Oistrakh (w/ Ancerl), I've heard Prihoda is fantastic.....

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine